F1: Red Bull admit they need Sergio Perez back on form with Ferrari, McLaren upping pressure for wins | F1 News

Christian Horner admits Red Bull need Sergio Perez to rediscover his best form amid the looming threat being posed to the world champions by Ferrari and McLaren.

Perez endured what his team boss described as a “brutal” Monaco GP weekend after the Mexican driver qualified only 16th after traffic problems in Q1 and then had a huge accident on the first lap of the race in an incident with Kevin Magnussen.

That followed a week on from a difficult Imola for Perez, where he qualified only 11th and finished eighth.

While Charles Leclerc’s win in Monaco has trimmed Max Verstappen’s world championship lead to 31 points, Perez has dropped to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship behind both Ferrari drivers and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Red Bull’s lead over Ferrari at the top of the Constructors’ Championship is down to 24 points with eight rounds of the 24-race campaign completed.

“This weekend’s been pretty brutal for him,” said Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, of Perez’s Monaco.

“Obviously we need to make sure that we’ve got both cars up there scoring points because we cannot dismiss the threat of Ferrari and McLaren in both championships.

Sergio Perez’s 2024 results so far

Grand PrixStartedFinished
Saudi Arabia3rd2nd
Emilia Romagna11th8th

“Checo’s first six races he was very strong. He was qualifying on the front row and finishing second and third, and scoring very well.

“We just need to get him back into that position of confidence and not see a dip.”

Sergio Perez has failed to reach Q3 at consecutive races for the first time this season

Perez’s contract at Red Bull remains up for renewal at the end of this year and, while the 34-year-old is still considered more likely than not to stay on for at least one more season, it would clearly be untimely for his prospects were he to enter a prolonged run of disappointing form.

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There was a big crash between Sergio Perez and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen at the start of the Monaco Grand Prix, which also took out the car of Nico Hulkenberg.

Asked if Perez’s recent results changed anything about the timeline for a decision on any new contract, Horner replied: “No, not really. I think that it’s more… we’ll make a decision in the fullness of time.”

Sky Sports F1 podcast: Do Red Bull now have a title fight on their hands?

The increasing challenge being posed to Red Bull’s F1 supremacy – and the impact that Leclerc’s win in Monaco could have on the remainder of the season – was a central topic of discussion on the latest edition of the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

The last three races – Miami (Norris, McLaren), Imola (Verstappen, Red Bull) and Monaco (Leclerc, Ferrari) – have been won by three different teams, the first time such a sequence has happened in F1 since September 2021.

Red Bull had won 26 of the 28 previous races before then.

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Highlights of the Monaco Grand Prix.

And former F1 race strategist Bernie Collins told the podcast: “Eight races in, it’s a lot closer battle than we’ve had.

“Red Bull genuinely lost Monaco and in the last two races [before that] McLaren have been right there with them, with McLaren winning one and Red Bull winning one.

“It is going to be a much tighter fight. Red Bull don’t seem that confident going forward and that’s really exciting for us watching at home.

“A part of that parcel is the fact that Ferrari have two guys regularly very close together on track and regularly taking good points.

“Those types of things will stand them in stead for the rest of the year and that’s where Red Bull really need to start questioning things a little bit because the car on most tracks is still the fastest car, although I appreciate not around Monaco, and the vast majority of the year is ahead of us.

“If McLaren and Ferrari continue to improve then Red Bull are in trouble.”

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Strategy analyst Bernie Collins describes the value Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has brought to the team.

Red Bull had won on F1’s previous three visits to Monaco but this year’s RB20’s car struggled over the famous street circuit’s bumps and kerbs.

The RB20 was not absolutely commanding in Miami and Imola either, and Collins says there have been recent “small signs” that Red Bull “are not as comfortable as they were” with a car which had won four of the season’s first five races and again threatened to run away with both championships.

“The big worry for Red Bull is they started the year with this very different-concept car to what we’d seen before, and we were all a bit surprised that they’d changed the car in any way given how strong the car had been,” she added.

“Now we’re starting to hear little things like ‘oh, we’ve not quite got the correlation right’ or ‘we’re not quite getting upgrades working as expected’. All these little things with a different-concept car are not guaranteed.”

Formula 1 leaves Europe for the final time before the summer break as the championship moves on to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Watch every session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from June 7-9 live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 7pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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